Sunday, November 21, 2004

The lies my mom told me

  1. Don't worry, life gets better after medical school
  2. Don't worry, the girls will come lining up once you become a doctor (nope, not happening yet. Not unless you're talking about patients lining up for a Pap smear. Uncomfortable. But necessary enough, I suppose. See digression)
  3. Women like a man who can cook (can whip up a tasty chicken pie or sushi in no time, but ain't working yet)
  4. You can still grow taller
  5. You can use pandan essence in place of leaves for the nasi lemak (see recent picture)
  6. Making popiah is easy
  7. You can machine-wash this shirt (I now look like the guys from Queer Eye for the Straight Guy when I wear my long-sleeved t-shirt. It shrunk a few sizes)
  8. Your feet will still grow, so you should always buy a few sizes larger (Explains why I look like I'm wearing ole' Ron McDonald's shoes. Mom: I have a medical degree. One's feet DO NOT grow in size throughout life, unless you have a hormonal imbalance)


Pap smears (or Papanicolau), an uncomfortable screening technique for early cervical changes associated with cervical cancer. This happens to be a very slow-growing malignancy. So why do so many women in Asia, including Anita Mui, succumb to this? Lack of awareness. The words 'Cancer Screening' apparently do not exist in Malaysia.

Here, we recommend all women above the age of 18, or after first sexual contact, to begin annual Pap smears. This may be decreased to every 3 years with 3 consecutive negative tests.

Mammography every year or every other year, starting between 40 and 50 years of age.

Colonoscopy every 10 years after 50 years of age. Earlier, if there is a family history of colon cancer.

But ask yourself, or those around you: How many people who fall in the groups above have actually done so? Is it a big surprise then when that report was published in the paper regarding the high cancer-related deaths in Malaysia? Even my good friends, married or unmarried, do not think they need to get Paps. Instead, the labs in Malaysia profit from doing expensive blood tests for 'cancer markers'. This, unfortunately, is not based on evidence or data.


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